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Rare 20p piece expected to fetch over €6,000 at auction

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 20/03/2019 George Morahan
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A rare trial 20p piece believed to be worth up to €6,000 is set to be sold at auction.

The coin, which dates from 1985, will go under the hammer as part of the Eclectic Collectors lot at Whyte’s auction house next month.

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According to the Central Bank, it is one of just 500 such pieces that was issued in advance of production to companies to assist in the calibration of coin operated devices such as vending machines and public telephones.

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But only 10 or so pieces have been recorded to be in private ownership, making it one of the rarest modern Irish coins, even scarcer than the 1943 florin.

The gold-coloured coin is ‘lightly streaked and [has] uneven toning’ and bears the image of a horse on the front and the signature Irish harp on the back, according to Whyte’s.

The auction house has put an estimate of €5,000-6,000 on the coin ahead of the sale on April 6.

It will be sold alongside a Lady Lavery £20 note issued by the Central Bank during World War II in 1943, also valued at around €5,000-6,000.

Related gallery: Are these the greatest hidden treasures ever found? [GES] 

There are several such notes up for sale in auction, but none in as good condition as Lot 454 and are not as valuable as a result.

Other notable items up for sale include a Dunhill Aquarium table lighter, estimated to be worth €3,000-5,000, dating from the 1950s or 1960s and decorated with aquatic plants and fish.

There’s also Guinness leprechaun from 1960 holding a bottle of the black stuff and a harp (€1,000-1,500) that was used by the company to advertise stout overseas.

And there are items from Ireland’s colonial past, including a Royal Dublin Volunteers medal (€2,000-3,000), a Victorian Royal County of Limerick militia officer’s shako (€1,5000-2,000) and a valuable stone bust of Michael Collins (€3,000-€5,000).

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